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Astronaut says losing mirror on spacewalk was a 'real bummer' – CTV News

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. —
The commander of the International Space Station said Monday that losing a mirror during last week’s otherwise successful spacewalk was “a real bummer.”

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy said he has no idea how the small mirror on his left sleeve came off. The band for the mirror is on pretty tight, he noted, and it may have caught on a metal tether attachment as he exited the airlock Friday.

“I just happened to glance down and I saw this reflecting thing disappearing into the darkness, and that was the last I saw of it,” Cassidy said in an interview with The Associated Press. “That was a real bummer for me.”

He’ll use a spare for Wednesday’s spacewalk, the second of four he and NASA astronaut Bob Behnken will do to replace old station batteries.

Spacewalking astronauts wear a mirror on each sleeve to see the displays on their chest control panel.

The five-man crew, meanwhile, is closely following the pandemic news back on Earth. The virus is hitting Houston — home to NASA astronauts and Johnson Space Center — especially hard. Florida is also coping with a spike in cases; that’s where Kennedy Space Center, the launch site, is based.

“Up here, our daily routine doesn’t involve quite so strict measures — really any measures at all. We just go about our time,” Cassidy said. “But we definitely are concerned.”

Cassidy is 2 1/2 months into a six-month mission, along with two Russians who launched with him from Kazakhstan. Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived via SpaceX a month ago; their August splashdown will be the first for a NASA crew in 45 years. It’s the first astronaut flight for SpaceX.

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How sparrows from B.C. spread a new song to the rest of North America – CTV News

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VANCOUVER —
A team of biologists spent 14 years tracking how a group of birds from B.C. became song influencers, eventually changing how the white-throated sparrow warbles from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the border of Quebec.

“It hasn’t been reported on this kind of magnitude or scale before, and that’s why it was interesting project to do, to look at how quickly the song is actually spreading,” Ken Otter, a biology professor at the University of Northern B.C., told CTV News.

The original sparrow song included an introductory phrase, and then three notes at the end, something like, “Oh my sweet Canada Canada Canada,” Otter explained.

The new song has just two notes at the end, resulting in something more like, “Oh my sweet Cana Cana Cana.” (Watch the video to see a full interview with Otter, and to hear the two different types of birdsong.)

Otter and other researchers initially noticed the change in birdsong in 2005 in central B.C., and assumed it was contained to just one small population of white-throated sparrow.

“But in about 2010 to 2014, we realized the song seemed to be spreading eastward, so we’ve been enlisting people to help us track this and found that the song has spread right into Ontario and is bordering right around Quebec,” Otter explained.

Birdsong does change over time, Otter said, but typically a new song type doesn’t completely replace an older song. It’s also very unusual for it to happen so quickly.

The researchers tracked the migration patterns of the birds, and the song’s spread, by attaching geolocators to certain birds from Prince George, B.C. and tracking their migration to other parts of Canada and the United States.

“They have to learn their songs from adult tutors, and so what you would expect is that most of the birds would learn the song that’s common to their environment or their neighbourhood,” Otter said.

“And so when the new song type emerges, you’d expect it to peter out, but what’s happening is these birds seem to be adopting the new song type.”

No one knows for sure why the birds changed their tune, but in a paper Otter and the research team published, they hypothesize that it could help the males attract female mates.

“Within white-throated sparrows, females prefer songs that include the terminal phrase over those that simply have the introductory notes, suggesting that females are attentive to the terminal portion of the song,” according to the researchers.

“But if female response to song variants wanes slightly over time… males may integrate novelty to maintain female interest.”

With files from CTV News.

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Rocket Lab launch fails during rocket's second stage burn, causing a loss of vehicle and payloads – Yahoo Finance UK

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rocket Lab’s ‘Pic or it didn’t happen’ launch on Saturday ended in failure, with a total loss of the Electron launch vehicle and all seven payloads on board. The launch vehicle experienced a failure during the second stage burn post-launch, after a lift-off from the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.” data-reactid=”19″>Rocket Lab’s ‘Pic or it didn’t happen’ launch on Saturday ended in failure, with a total loss of the Electron launch vehicle and all seven payloads on board. The launch vehicle experienced a failure during the second stage burn post-launch, after a lift-off from the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

The mission appeared to be progressing as intended, but the launch vehicle appeared to experience unexpected stress during the ‘Max Q’ phase of launch, or the period during which the Electron rocket experiences the most significant atmospheric pressure prior to entering space.

Launch video cut off around six minutes after liftoff during the live stream, and rocket was subsequently shown to be falling from its current altitude before the web stream was cut short. Rocket Lab then revealed via Twitter that the Electron vehicle was lost during the second stage burn, and committed to sharing more information when it becomes available.

This is an unexpected development for Rocket Lab, which has flown 11 uneventful consecutive Electron missions since the beginning of its program.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck posted an apology to Twitter, noting that all satellites were lost, and that he’s "incredibly sorry" to all customer who suffered loss of payload today. That includes Canon, which was flying a new Earth imaging satellite with demonstration imaging tech on board, as well as Planet, which had five satellites for its newest and most advanced Earth imaging constellation on the vehicle.” data-reactid=”23″>Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck posted an apology to Twitter, noting that all satellites were lost, and that he’s “incredibly sorry” to all customer who suffered loss of payload today. That includes Canon, which was flying a new Earth imaging satellite with demonstration imaging tech on board, as well as Planet, which had five satellites for its newest and most advanced Earth imaging constellation on the vehicle.

We’ll update with more info about the cause and next steps from Rocket Lab when available.

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Rocket Lab Electron launch fails – SpaceNews

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Updated 6:15 p.m. Eastern.

WASHINGTON — A Rocket Lab Electron rocket failed to reach orbit during a July 4 launch after a problem during the rocket’s second-stage burn.

The Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 at Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, at 5:19 p.m. Eastern. The launch was originally scheduled for July 3 but pushed back two days because of poor weather in the forecast, only for the company to move up the launch to July 4 based on a reassessment of the weather.

The initial phases of the launch appeared to go as planned, although the vehicle’s passage through “max-q,” or maximum dynamic pressure, appeared to be rougher than what was seen in previous launches. Onboard video taken shortly before first-stage separation showed material appearing to peel from the rocket, although it was not clear if it simply a decal applied to the rocket or something more substantial.

The onboard video from the rocket froze about five minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff, or three minutes into the seconds stage burn. At six and a half minutes after liftoff, a launch controller on the company’s webcast of the launch said, “Initiating mishap response plan.”

Telemetry from the rocket, displayed on the webcast, showed the rocket’s altitude falling from about 194 kilometers to less than 165 kilometers for about 90 seconds before that information was removed from the screen. The company ended the webcast 11 minutes after liftoff, two minutes after the rocket’s second stage should have shut down and the kick stage, carrying its payload of seven satellites, deployed.

“An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab’s launch that caused the loss of the vehicle. We are deeply sorry to the customers on board Electron,” the company tweeted about 25 minutes after liftoff. “The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

“We lost the flight late into the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, tweeted after the failure. “Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon.”

The launch was the 13th for the Electron rocket. The vehicle had 11 consecutive successful launches after the rocket’s inaugural launch in May 2017 was terminated because of a telemetry issue involving range safety systems, and not a problem with the rocket itself.

The primary payload for the launch was CE-SAT-1B, a 67-kilogram imaging satellite built by Canon Electronics, whose launch was arranged by Spaceflight Inc. The satellite, capable of taking images with a resolution of 90 centimeters, was intended to demonstrate the spacecraft’s technologies as the company prepared mass production of similar satellites.

“This launch is very critical for Canon Electronics as we are launching a satellite where we have remarkably increased the ratio of in-house development of components compared to the previous launch,” said Nobutada Sako, group executive of the Satellite Systems Lab at Canon Electronics said in a pre-launch release. Canon launched a similar satellite, CE-SAT-1, in 2017.

The rocket carried five SuperDove imaging cubesats developed by Planet. These satellites are upgraded versions of its original Dove line of cubesats, with additional spectral bands to support geospatial applications in fields like architecture.

The seventh satellite on the Electron was Faraday-1, a six-unit cubesat developed by British startup In-Space Missions. The satellite is the first in a series by the company designed to carry hosted payloads. Faraday-1 included payloads for several customers such Airbus Defence and Space, which flew a payload called Prometheus 1 to test a reprogrammable software-defined radio.

This mission, dubbed “Pics or It Didn’t Happen” by Rocket Lab, featured the shortest turnaround time between Electron missions to date. The previous Electron launch, which carried three National Reconnaissance Office satellites and smallsats for American and Australian universities, launched June 13.

After a halt in launch activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Rocket Lab had planned to ramp up its launch activity in the second half of the year. The next mission after this was to take place with an even shorter turnaround, Beck said in a June 18 interview. The company was also looking ahead to a first Electron launch from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia that, prior to this failure, was expected to take place before the end of the summer.

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